Winning when wearing white.
That’s been the theme for Indiana men’s basketball halfway into the season, as they defeated the No. 13 Ohio State Buckeyes 67-51 Thursday night inside Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers improve to 11-3 on the season, 10-0 at home, and even their Big Ten record at 2-2.
Indiana put together by far their best performance in the Mike Woodson era against a team considered to be one of the best in the Big Ten. “This is probably the best game we have played this season,” Woodson stated. “We did a lot of good things on both sides of the ball.” Despite trailing by 8 early, Indiana slowed things down while forcing 15 Buckeyes’ turnovers. Indiana had just 9 turnovers.
If it was not already evident, now it is: Winning on the road in the Big Ten is difficult. Very difficult. Indiana lost to a weaker Penn State side Sunday 61-58, whereas Ohio State squeaked past Nebraska in Lincoln, 87-79 in OT.
The Buckeyes did not fare as fortunate against Indiana inside a packed Assembly Hall. Ohio State shot just 16-52 (31%) from the field, and 8-27 (30%) from beyond the arc. OSU entered the game second in the Big Ten shooting at nearly a 40% clip from 3-point range. Moreover, their Big Ten Player of the Year candidate, E.J. Liddell, finished with just 11 points while playing 34 minutes. Malaki Branham led all Buckeyes with 13 points.
Meanwhile, Indiana’s Big Ten Player of the Year candidate, Trayce Jackson-Davis, played like an All-American. The redshirt sophomore dominated, finishing with 27 points and 12 rebounds for his fifth double-double in 14 games this season.
“I expect him to play like that,” Woodson said. “I was kinda harsh on him more than anybody coming out of Penn State,” pointing to the fact that he only had 5 rebounds given his size and athleticism.
Arguably Jackson-Davis’ most amusing moment of the game was when he knocked the ball off the head of Ohio State’s Joey Brunk and out of bounds midway through the second half. Brunk was a former Hoosier in the 2019-20 season before transferring to OSU. Jackson-Davis said he will text his “brother”, apologizing for what happened.
The bench has been a big part of Indiana’s success this season, and the return of Trey Galloway made a huge difference. Galloway broke his wrist in the first half of the St. John’s game nearly two months ago, and although he didn’t tear up the box score, he played 19 minutes and had 2 big layups late to seal the deal for Indiana.
Despite the stellar showing overall, the 3-point performance was poor. Indiana shot just 13% (2-15) from downtown. “We didn’t shoot the three ball again tonight,” Woodson said. “We gotta go back to the gym and start shooting more, a lot more.” Indiana needs to knock down more deep shots if they want to be considered a true threat in the Big Ten.
When at their best, the Hoosiers are a top-25 team given their stout defense. But, the question that is still to be answered: Can this team put it together on the road and find a way to win a Big Ten game away from home?
Their next chance to win their first true road game comes in a week against Iowa. But first, the Hoosiers have the Minnesota Golden Gophers at home on Sunday (1/9) at 12 PM ET. The game can be heard on WIUX 99.1 FM with Zak Ibrahim and Jack Edwards on the call.
PHOTO COURTESY OF IU ATHLETICS
Indiana Men’s Basketball plays a full 40 minutes, upsets Ohio State
Winning when wearing white.